This morning the boys and I went to the grand opening of the new Florence County Museum. While the museum first opened in 1936, today was the debut of its beautiful new facility, one more element in the revitaliztion of the central business district in Florence, South Carolina.
The building is exquisite, the exhibit design is top-of-the-line, and the content--ranging from the prehistory of the Pee Dee region to Asian art--is compelling. Although my companions, ages three and one, didn't allow me to linger long, I was particularly impressed with the treatment of the area's rich agricultural heritage and the frank discussion of slavery, sharecropping, and the racial violence of the Reconstruction era--including the little-known assassination of the black postmaster in Lake City in 1898. There is what looks like a fabulous exhibit of works (mostly on loan) of William H. Johnson, prominent painter of the Harlem Renaissance and Florence native, on display through next October, which alone would be worth another visit soon.
For the boys, though, the biggest hits were the Revitalization Station, a wall-mounted Lego street and railroad map of downtown Florence on which children (ok, I confess, adults too!) can build their own buildings, and the fossilized ancient bald cypress.
Congratulations to the museum's board and staff and everyone else who contributed for giving a strong institution a great new home!